Road Trip? Stay Healthy & Save Money

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When I was a kid (OK, I’m tellin’ may age here….) when we went on vacation we went in a pickup with a camper.

We slept in those little roadside parks and in the mornings Dad got out the Coleman stove and we had breakfast cooked on the tailgate.

Lunch was usually a sandwich and dinner was again cooked on the Coleman.

Roadside meal
Roadside meal

I used to BEG to stop at Stuckeys!

Don’t know why as we didn’t buy anything when we did stop at Stuckeys. We just looked.

You know as well as I do that if you don’t go on a trip, even a quick impromptu day trip, without some preparation that you’ll end up spending too much money, especially on food. Kids can think they need everything at a convenience store….as do some grownups….

So how do you combat that?

You start the trip with food in the vehicle. You can pack fruits and veggies. Apples and bananas can be eaten anywhere, anytime. Carrot sticks or filled celery sticks can make snack foods as can peanut butter and crackers (premade at home with plain old saltines). Cereal in cups works as a snack or as a breakfast item. Granola and cereal bars can stave off hunger until dinnertime as can sticks of jerky or individual containers of nuts. (They do make a snack size baggie.)

If you’ve got room for a cooler you can stash away some of those squeezable apple sauce or yogurt tubes.

Not into camping on the side of the road and opt for a motel room? That’s OK. You can still save money. Lots of motels now have free breakfasts so don’t let that treat go to waste. The offerings are often small but still tasty and filling.

Many motel rooms have small appliances already in place, such as a refrigerator,a coffee pot and a microwave. If you’ve got that you’re all set. Some folks bring along their programmable crockpot and set it up in the motel room while they’re out and about and have a hot meal waiting for them when they return.

Some of the fancier places, or hotels, ‘might’ come without a microwave yet do have a small fridge. We attended an event last year where to our surprise there was no coffee maker and no microwave in our room (big hotel). Other people attending the same event were driving down the road to Walmart, buying a small microwave and coffee pot, and bringing it back to their room for use. At the end of the event, they took them home with them if they drove or left it for the cleaning crew if they were flying. I’ve now been told that that hotel now makes random room checks and confiscates microwaves and other appliances not supplied by the hotel. Guess they want you to eat at one of their restaurants!

That doesn’t mean you can’t stock the fridge with sandwich makings, or use the iron and foil to make a grilled cheese. Do you remember the little immersion heater we used to put in a cup of hot water to make soup at our desks?

Travel costs can be reduced by spending more time exploring and experiencing and spending less time inside restaurants. If you aren’t in a position to create all of your trip meals then start small. Bringing your own food can save you a lot of money.